So You Want to Build an Integrated Communications Measurement Dashboard? Here’s How to Do It

Integrated communications measurement is where comms evaluation and measurement is heading. All the data in one place, all the KPIs and metrics agreed upon, all the progress plain to see. If you are not already doing it, you will be, sooner or later.

** Click here to read all our posts on integrated communications measurement. **

But developing an integrated communications measurement dashboard can be a tricky and involved process. You’ve got to have a strategy, pick KPIs and metrics, find the best sources of data, and then get all of it approved by everybody who matters. It’s a lot of work, but very doable.

If you want to get psyched up, read the story of Jessica Jones and her work. She is a perfect role model for anyone just beginning dashboard development. Not only was she relatively new to measurement, and so had to figure a lot of things out as she went, but she did it for a very, very large organization requiring buy-in from numerous levels of leadership.

So, you can do it too. Your process will be made easier with the resources listed below:

Quick Tips

Start with 5 Quick Tips to Develop Your Perfect Integrated Communications Dashboard. These are basic points, quick to read yet vital advice. Here is an example:

Tip #4. Use the simplest tools available.

Purchase no measurement product or service until you have mapped out your goals, objectives, senior leadership expectations, and all the parameters of who is using the dashboard and how. And then, don’t buy anything that you don’t absolutely positively need.

I have seen far too many otherwise on-the-ball comms departments sign up for two-year contracts that don’t measure what they’ve just defined as success! So if you’re not 100% sure that Mary’s Measurement Service provides exactly what you need and when you need it, keep asking until you are. And once you’ve defined success you absolutely positively cannot go back and redefine based on what your tool spits out.”


A Checklist

Next, here is how you get organized and track your progress as you develop your integrated communications measurement system:  A Checklist for Creating an Integrated Communications Measurement Dashboard. It is designed to be used alongside “7 Steps to Design an Integrated Measurement Dashboard for Your Entire Communications Effort” (see below). Here’s some of what to expect:

Step 4: Refine your benchmark.

Review your Step 1 discussion of your benchmark, and confirm the following:

☐ Identify what peer/competitor keeps leadership awake at night.

☐ Estimate the amount of data you will need to collect on your competition.

☐ Based on the previous answer, decide if you actually have the budget to do competitive benchmarking.

☐ Do you have consistent data for the past 13 months? If not, how far back can you gather data?”

The next two articles require a subscription to The Measurement Advisor newsletter. (You are reading an article from it right now.) It will cost you less than $10 a month but the advice is invaluable—and of course you’ll get a year’s worth of premium content to enjoy.

Chose Your Tools Wisely

If you are in the process of selecting a platform or tools to bring your data together, then read “The Tools You Need to Implement Your Integrated Communications Dashboard, and 5 Rules for Using Them”. It will help you find the right tool(s) to produce the communications measurement dashboard you need, and provide some rules to guide your journey. Here’s an except from the beginning:

“In my decade of designing and implementing integrated communications dashboards, I’ve had the pleasure (or not) of working with the following platforms:

Some are great, some were more challenging to work with. I encourage you to look at any and all of them. Personally, I tend to prefer simple and cheap (or free) over expensive and complicated. The point of this article is not to pick favorites, but to help you find what works for your own situation.”

And here’s an excerpt from the middle:

“The raison d’être of every communications measurement dashboard is to bring together lots of diverse data from a variety of sources in a way that enables the user to visualize and analyze the effect that one data set has on another. What that means for communications is that you will most likely be combining data from your:

  • Web analytics platform (e.g., Google Analytics, Adobe, WebTrends);
  • Listening data (e.g., Hootsuite, Sprinklr, Sprout, Adobe Social, Brandwatch, Sysomos, Talkwalker);
  • Media monitoring data (e.g., Cision, Burrelles, Glean, Trendkite).
  • Survey research data (e.g. Survata, Survey Monkey, Qualtrics)

If your goals center around awareness and preference results, you’ll need the ability to integrate data from your survey platform, or at the very least you will need the ability to manually enter data from your surveys.

If internal communications is in your purview you will need the ability to bring in data from your Intranet and email platforms and/or manually enter that data.”

Take it Step-by-Step

And finally, there is “7 Steps to Design an Integrated Measurement Dashboard for Your Entire Communications Effort.Yes, this one requires a subscription as well. It walks you right through the process, step by step. Here’s some of what you can expect:

Step 3. Identify your data sources

Regardless of what metrics end up on your dashboard, to get the insight you need you’ll want a variety of tools to capture all the requisite data. Chances are good that most of the data you need is somewhere in your organization, you just need to go hunting for it. It’s a bit like a scavenger hunt, you may have to dig pretty deep to find it. Your “scavenger list” should include:

  1. Web analytics data from a platform like Google Analytics, Web Trends, or Adobe Omniture.
  2. Data on what is being said or written about you. Typically this will involve a media monitoring or social listening platform. What’s important is that you have the data to tell you what conversations are taking place about you and where. Ideally you would also be tracking competitors.
  3. Data from sales or product marketing on what or who motivates people to buy your product or support your cause. Typically this will be survey research data, but if that doesn’t exist, just sit down with your most successful salespeople. If you have a CRM system in place (such as Salesforce) you should be able to get good data out of it. You especially want to track the source of any increases in leads or inquiries.
  4. Reputational and attitudinal data on how people perceive your brand or products.
  5. Financial data, such as monthly or quarterly budget figures.”

Good luck with your communications measurement dashboard! ∞

Thanks for the photo up top by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash.

About Author

Katie Paine

I've been called The Queen Of Measurement, but I prefer Seshat, the Goddess.